When was the last time anyone heard of a Pennsylvania lawmaker opposing government reform?

We can't think of a single instance.

What separates our elected officials, however, is how hard they actually work toward a more transparent government.

That divide was on display earlier this month when freshman state Sen. Rob Teplitz, a Democrat who represents part of York County, joined Republican colleague Rep. Bryan Cutler in announcing a 30-member, bipartisan Government Reform Caucus.

The group intends to press a package of 14 bills, which include lobbying reform, suspension of pay for the governor and legislators if they don't pass a timely budget and opening the state's closed primary to independent voters.

Teplitz acknowledged some of the caucus' initiatives are daisy bills, which sprout up every year only to be mowed down before the end of the session.

And that might have explained the condescending reactions from more "seasoned" lawmakers.

"Do you know how long that bill's been around? Year after year," state Sen. Pat Vance, R-York/Cumberland counties, said of withholding legislators' pay. "(Teplitz and Cutler) want to change the world, and I wish them luck. I hope they can, and I don't mean that to be jaded."

While she's co-sponsoring one of Teplitz's bills, a proposal to prohibit the government from using taxpayer money to hire lobbyists to lobby other government agencies, Vance said she's unlikely to join the caucus.


Sen. Mike Waugh, R-Shrewsbury, echoed Vance.

"A number of these bills have been down the pike several times," he said. "The bottom line is you need to get enough numbers up here that are willing to vote to change status quo. And God bless Rob Teplitz. I hope he can get it done, but he's not the first guy to come up with these ideas."

While he'd probably vote for "any and all" of the Government Reform Caucus' bills, Waugh said he doesn't intend to join the group.

Vance -- who said she was a reformer before it was "popular" -- indicated she didn't want to sound jaded, but that's exactly how both she and Waugh come across.

Counting their time in the state House, Vance and Waugh have a combined 42 years or so in state government. They probably can't count how many times they've seen government reform bills introduced, only to fail.

But if lawmakers truly believe in something -- as Vance and Waugh appear to care about government reform -- they shouldn't give up because it's difficult.

They should work harder and encourage others to do the same.

It's not enough for Vance and Waugh to say they support Teplitz's efforts and will vote for his reform bills if (wink, wink) they ever come up for a vote.

They should join the caucus, add their voices to the 30 already committed and recruit like-minded lawmakers to do the same.